Friday, October 28, 2011

Psychopathic Writings - Purpose & Change.

A Reader asks:
Some of your articles seem to say things that are very different from what you say today. In the first articles you seemed to be sure you weren't a psychopath, but now you seem to be very clarified about it and I think that's good. I think you almost seem like a different person, as if you have changed your mind also about other things. Have you changed the purpose with your website?

Articles that discuss my personal viewpoints describe as a whole the process I go through on my the journey though learning and acquiring a new and deeper understanding of my diagnosis and the conceptualization that it implies.

When I first set out to create Psychopathic Writings, I had no real knowledge about the definition of psychopathy. I have come a long way since the early days... 'early' in this context means more than 6 months old... and in many respects I grossly disagree with a lot of my early statements and viewpoints.

Articles older than 6 months should not be seen as representative for the person who authors Psychopathic Writings as the person I am now, in our present. But I have left those old articles online only to make them available for clinicians and for private readers who may want to follow me on a more long term basis in order to watch my process - or progress ;) - and see what result comes from it, if I become a more agreeable, or more positive person, or if I merely learn to become a better psychopath, a better manipulator and abuser.

The central point in what I do is two-fold: By learning about psychopathy, which is the name of my diagnosis, I learn about myself. My understanding of myself has grown tremendously, and with it my understanding of other people, and perhaps most of all the neurotypical majority.

Whereas I would be lying if I claimed that my greater awareness doesn't bear a certain element of intentions toward future deceitfulness, I do claim even more that it has provided me some basis for rapport with normal people, a potential for being able to work with them rather than against them. As I see it, what my choice in this regard will be in the future depends on how the neurotypical majority chooses to react to my out stretched hand.

In other words: What I am doing here is not merely self indulgent soul searching, it is an attempt to find some common ground upon which to build a bridge for future generations to create a constructive reality that has room for neurodiversity, also in it's extreme expressions. This, would the neurotypical world wish to meet me and embrace my idea, holds the greatest attraction for me, and no antisocial forms of activity have a chance at bending my resolve!

At this point I am not at all convinced that psychopathic individuals necessarily are merely evil and incapable of ever contributing to society or in any constructive manner be members of the human race. And this is my other purpose with Psychopathic Writings, this is my other plan: To prove this statement!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Can Psychopath Brains Change?

A Reader writes:
You talk a lot about neurological difference but our brains are plastic and neurons are constantly laid down, pruned and rebuilt in different patterns according to our environment and actions. Even if a certain category of people have particular neurological or brainwave patterns, that can be because of what they DO with their brains, rather than what their brain does with them. The most famous example of this is the London taxi drivers in whom the area of the brain responsible for spatial awareness develops as they learn the street map of London. So if you take a step by step approach to modifying your actions, this will modify your feelings, making it easier to modify your actions, and so on. Bio-feedback. However, there may be some early neurological damage that is very hard to repair unless one is very motivated or starts very early.
My Answer:

What you say is true for the most part. But in order to create new synapses you need corresponding synapses to trigger such growth. To f.x. expect someone with Down Syndrome to develop an intelligence like that of someone with an IQ of 150 is impossible because the neurological foundation required to do so simply is not there.

Take the example of the Structural Changes in the Hippocampi of London Taxi Drivers. If we imagine one of these drivers had deficiencies in their Hippocampus in conjunction with deficiencies in other parts of the brain to begin with, they would never get the chance to enhance their Spatial Awareness, because they would not have the ability to navigate well enough to drive a car.

If for a moment we imagine the cap driver's car is a person's love for another, and spatial awareness is how well they perform in situations associated with loving... If the person is a psychopath this experiment will never begin, because psychopaths don't have cars. Some have tanks, but more have war planes and can be highly skilled in airspace warfare - most psychopaths can experience aggression and enjoy the excitement related to various forms of aggressive behavior and life styles - and they can learn to drive them very efficiently. But that doesn't help them if they're required to navigate London city in peace time.

This is a crude example, of course, and in reality it is not a question about deficits in one part of the brain, but a combination of differences (I don't like to call it deficits, since lacking in one area often make room for excellence in others) which in combination produces a person with the characteristics that in modern society are poorly understood and accordingly given a stigmatizing label: Psychopath.

To imagine that a psychopathic individual might grow the synaptic network that is required for someone to feel empathy or remorse would be like imagining that someone without a visual cortex might learn to see anyway. They may have eyes like the rest of us, and they may have the blink reflexes, the tear canal may produce fluids under the appropriate circumstances, and they may even learn to turn their eyes in the direction of sound and touch like the rest of us, but they do not have the physical neurological matter required to develop the synaptic network, and that remains a fact no matter how much transmitter is fired in the appropriate area.

That said, psychopathy is a spectrum like everything else, and emotional 'deficiencies' vary. Some psychopaths have some ability to feel some level of empathy (for a short time), and in those cases the question would be whether and how much using the little empathy capacity which is there will be encouraged by experience.

Conclusion: Whereas in principle it may be possible for a psychopath to learn to access some kind of empathic emotion - or remorse (which of the two are more important is matter for debate) - my question remains: Why do we strive to make everybody alike? Why not use the differences that the human race exhibits and benefit from what we can make of it? Again, I am convinced all the differences are here for a reason. 

This is in fact part of my argument when I spoke about the problems related to psychopathic children and upbringing here and here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sense of Belonging Among Psychopaths.

"I have a question about self-awareness: you can easily spot fellow psychopaths, but for a long time you didn't know you were a psychopath. Before you became self-aware, did you sense that you were part of a minority,
and that other people whom you know know are psychopaths had something in common with you?"
My immediate reply to this question from a Reader was: Yes... and No! A little more explanation is in order:

I can see in hindsight why I sometimes felt "I'm like you!" about someone else who was also a psychopath, and though I never could confirm it, I just knew. Often I could tell that the other guy knew as well. Especially when I was younger I hoped to find out what it was that made me and those few other individuals different from everybody else, but I had no word for it. Now I have words for it, and they confirm what I felt back then and still feel when I meet another psychopath.

Since psychopaths rarely are attracted to each other and feel no reason to interact unless we have a common goal and can benefit from cooperating, it would mostly happen in that I knew exactly what the other person's motives were and could foresee his next moves. It's an unspoken recognition that "I understand this guy", whereas with normal people I may be able to foretell their behavior and motives, but I will never really, truly understand them.

Even when I meet others like me and I have a sense of recognition, I still feel set apart even from them. There is no sense of 'belonging' among psychopaths in the way that I imagine you have in mind. So whereas I did have some kind of vague awareness when I met another psychopath, also from early on in life, my sense of uniqueness has always been the strongest. When I meet other people and recognize they're psychopaths, it is just that: A recognition.

I can mention one thing that I noticed. When I met a psychopathic individual, and if circumstances spoke for it, we would use it to undertake actions in a quick and effective manner... actions which - when I undertook them with non-psychopaths - always require discussion and debating and lining up and agreeing on all the details in advance so as to not misunderstand the behavior or the intentions of someone else. With another psychopath things often happen almost without any talk at all, except for the most fundamental details that can't be 'intuitively' understood (locations' names, f.x.).

Today I am fully aware when I spot someone else, and I can tell if they're aware as well.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Let Psychopaths Provide Psychopathy Information. (Part 2)

Being antisocial is not an attitude or a behavior you are born with. In fact, you are not born with any social attitude, only with a more or less prominent tendency to seek socializing and a more or less dominant knack for understanding psychological dynamics and motivations in others and for learning the social rules so as to gain ourselves influential positions (if perhaps for most often only temporarily).

Whether or not you develop an attitude of contempt and disregard towards the norm and the law of mainstream society depends on your experiences during your upbringing. And your upbringing is closely linked with how your general surroundings interact with you. If your surroundings do not understand you, or do not acknowledge you and what you represent, that you are a person and your emotions or lack thereof are as real, and your thoughts as valid, as those of other kids and family members, then you're much more likely to also not acknowledge your surroundings and what they represent, what they feel and think.

Psychopaths are usually extrovert and we have dominant personalities. This means we seek social interaction. We are curious and want to learn, as do most human children, and social education is a central part of the learning process which starts very early in any child's life. But in our society social education is geared towards the norm, towards the neurotypical, the normal. And this is in my view where the main issue lies when we talk about the 'psychopath problem' in present day society.

I can't emphasize enough the importance of making education about psychopathy available to everybody, not only neurotypical normal people, but to the psychopathic individuals themselves, and education should begin in childhood! My reasons in this are twofold, because both normal people and the psychopaths will benefit, and that means society as a whole will benefit!

If everybody from early on learn that not everybody are neurotypical, and that being neurotypical or normal, as well as being atypical or abnormal, are both part of our species and of what it means to be human - we all belong on the same spectrum that I call The Human Condition - then normal people will grow up with an awareness they do not have now, and perhaps even more importantly: Psychopathic individuals will be met with an acknowledgement and understanding that adult psychopaths at present didn't experience when we were children.

This is my claim: Psychopaths become antisocial largely because we are met with ignorance and because our emotional life and the way we experience reality - right from the beginning when we begin to become self aware as children - does not get acknowledged by our caretakers, nor by others who represent the norm.

I, as a psychopath, have a passion... - Okay, passion is a large word to use for someone like myself, my 'passion' is to some extent a drive by the legal spur from the psychopathy research program I am part of, but it's no less genuine even so. - So let's say I have acquired a drive to educate myself. And now, as a result, only a few months into my research, I have a better and more profound understanding of my condition and of the role psychopathy plays in the greater context of society and the world as a whole, than any clinical psychologist will ever be able to gain...

It's not because he is less intelligent than I am, it's because he is not a psychopath. And this enables me to provide information, to help educate others on the subject of psychopathy, that only someone like myself have the ability to do. And I do hope my knowledge will benefit everybody, not only neurotypical, normal people, nor only psychopaths and people of other related conditions, but everybody who has a genuine interest in learning, no matter where you come from, what you social status is, and especially no matter what group of society as a personality type or sub-type you belong to.

'Let Psychopaths Provide Psychopathy Information. (Part 1.)'  Here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Psychopaths - Fear of Damnation.

A Reader asks:
What if what the bible says about you is true and that blackest darkness is reserved for you forever? Jude 1:13.

I don't see any mentioning of psychopaths anywhere in the bible. The concept of psychopathy is new and came with the era of Psychology. In the past we were more likely to be called anything from warlords, leaders, politicians, artists, and everything that signifies unusual people who are unafraid of going beyond the limits of common norms... all that which is known to be needed in such people. - That is not to say that we weren't also known as infamous pirates or evil rulers, etc.

But psychopaths was not what we were called, for that term didn't exist then, it came in very recent time along with the new "ruling order" where the standard is set by the masses, the common and the mediocre. I do not mean to degrade people by saying this, I know that most common people in their hearts wouldn't want a common or average person as president or to be in any of the most important positions of leadership. Why I think a psychopath could fill such a position is a different matter which stems from my observation that there are different kinds of psychopaths and that many of those who wreck havoc today could've been something quite different had circumstances been different also.

But to answer your question more directly: Knowing that I might be send to the blackest darkness forever wouldn't change anything for me. It wouldn't change how I feel or how I behave anymore than I already am changing these, and I am changing these only within the boundaries of being what I am because I cannot change my neurological wiring.

And part of the consequence of my neurological wiring, which is my condition called psychopathy, means I do not believe I'm evil. I may understand on an intellectual level that according to a certain ideological construct I am evil in the eyes of those who have adopted said ideology on an emotional and moral level, adopted it as part of their identity and how they see themselves as well as how they understand good and evil. But since I can't adopt such an ideology, it can only be an intellectual theory to me. In my own mind I will always be convinced that I am as good as I can possibly be under the given circumstances. Some professionals call it rationalizing and failure to take responsibility, but to me it is the truth.

Furthermore, it isn't because I am defiant, I just can't feel afraid of something that is so far away in time and thought, a mental image. I have never seen nor heard any living human being describe the Blackest Darkness of the Bible. And therefore this idea is too unreal for me for it to trigger in me any emotional response in the form of fear or concern. I only feel curiosity. Curiosity as to why you and others would believe or even wish such a thing to be true, and curiosity as to how such a scenery came into being in the first place, and to the awareness that some people hate me so much that they will think of such an idea. There's no anger, no scorn, and definitely no fear or guilt.

My personal belief is that Death means the End of being alive, and everything that you can describe is part of life. In my understanding it is not possible to experience Darkness or Blackness when you're dead. Do I believe in a form of life that goes beyond our immediate physical presence? Yes, in a sense. But I do not believe it is everlasting. You cannot experience something that has not definition in time, a beginning and an end, this is in the way life comes to expression. - So a period in a location such as the one described as The Blackest Darkness in the Bible must be an extended state of living, but not in every aspect of what it means to live with all the physical applications that we know in our everyday lives.

I guess I believe it is possible that such a location exists, and therefore someone can experience being confined to that place for a period - maybe they can even experience being there for what to them seems like eternity, but I don't think it happens to just everyone who did something bad or wrong in life. With this I am touching on the difficult subject of subjective reality and how the individual can influence this. In fact, if I was to communicate more explicitly what I think and believe about this subject, I would have to discuss religious and magical practice throughout the existence of man. It is not that I don't want to do that, but it is a subject that goes beyond the scopes of psychopathy as such, and it would take a lot of text as well.

Perhaps I will discuss it in the future.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

How Are Psychopaths Without Social Masks? (Part 2)

A Reader Asks:
Would you prefer to writhe and hump with abandon, or do you WANT to have access to us? How about if we released ALL from social norms and let us have a chance to point a finger at you and say you are evil? What works best for you?

For a psychopath having not one, but an unlimited number of social masks that we can wear in different social situations according to the various Social Norms, will always work best. I think I can say without a doubt that this is how it is for the vast majority of psychopaths. In reality there are nobody who have unlimited numbers of masks, for even psychopaths are influenced by our culture, background and education... only not to near the same extent as neurotypical people are.

A psychopath will definitely "WANT to have access to you". Of course we do!... But it isn't prejudice that makes me I say that this is not only the case for psychopaths or antisocial people in general. Normal people too want to have access to each other! I'm also not being too harsh when I say that the hatred toward psychopaths doesn't all stem from being victimized, a great deal of it is based on good old human envy... on being bitter because the skill at "gaining access" to others, that psychopaths are so known to have in excess, in most normal people is lacking in comparison.
We can safely say that the origins from which the rage against my minority springs are not one-sided.

Being released from all social norms wouldn't be good for anybody... not for the psychopaths, and not for the mainstream majority or other minorities (1*). Social rules - also with a precise and descriptive term called the 'Social Contract' - defines what a great part of being human involves, and without it we would be in trouble... And I'm not talking about trouble with the psychopaths. I'm talking about trouble as a species, we would be unable to communicate, reach mutual understanding on any level. There would be no common code or norm for politeness to guide us when we meet someone from a foreign country, from a different part of town, or even our next door neighbor. How would we ever make business relationships and contracts work? We would be at war with everybody because we would have no 'social sign language', which is crucial in all relationships, but even more so between nations who don't share the same mother language.

As for the pointing fingers at us and calling us evil... That is something most psychopaths - myself included - have experienced many times in their lives, often from very early on in life. We are not born with the knowledge and understanding of human psychology or the group specific social rules that allows us to befriend people, get hired for jobs that we have no prior experience with, impress the lady we met at a friend's party and perhaps make her fall in love with us, etc. In that respect we're like everybody else, we start with some natural talent but otherwise have to learn the hard way through trial and error.

I will tell you a little secret that I know few psychopaths are keen to share: Most psychopaths have in their childhood experienced being disliked, feared, scorned, avoided, and some (not many, but a few) have even experienced ridicule and mobbing. Psychopaths rarely get mobbed (as far as I am aware of), but social alienation from very early on life is very, very common especially for psychopaths who are heavy on both Factor 2. and Factor 1. traits.
A young child cannot fake emotion as skillfully as an adult who have studied and practiced throughout adolescence and early adulthood. In fact, just as normal people will keep adjusting and fine tuning social skills throughout your lives, so do psychopathic individuals keep studying human behavior and work on being the best we can be at what we do.

I will touch on this aspect in future articles about my own childhood.

(1*) -With the exception perhaps of some highly intelligent, educated, mature and aware people who adhere to a personal Fundamentalist or Absolutist Anarchist ideology.

Friday, October 7, 2011

How Are Psychopaths Without Social Masks? (Part 1)

A Reader asks:
Would it be better for you and your kind to not have to put on a mask? If we released you from social etiquette?
I think it would probably be better some of the time for some psychopaths as well as normal people. But it would be better - especially for normal people - to not be under quite as much pressure to wear masks all the time as is the case today, mostly because the masks of modern day is too narrow and two dimensional to be natural for most people.

It is a problem for normal people much more than it is for psychopaths, because psychopaths can easier change and mold different social masks according to different social settings. And the more stereotypical the masks, the easier they are to mimic, whereas normal people tend to become their "masks" to a higher degree than psychopaths do, and since their emotional life plays a far more important and central role in their lives it goes without saying that narrow masks cannot be ideal in the long run.

That said, normal people have a "core personality" that stays with them even outside of social settings. It may be a personality which is shaped from a combination of social masks, but it is unique to them and central to their identity. This is where the importance of a healthy rapport between the emotional life of the individual and how it corresponds with your given masks, your social roles in life, comes into play.

For me there is no clearly defined personality outside of my masks. And I have many. I can to a large extent choose which mask I will put on according to the setting and my purpose with interacting with the people who's daily stage in life it is, for whom it defines and represents who and what they are.

I do have as strong a sense of being 'me' as everybody else, I just cannot relate it to or define it by the social labels and values that mainstream society uses to identify an individual as different from other individuals. In that sense I am the masks I put on, and without a mask I have no real identity as distinguishable from other people's identities - not outside of my personal inner sense of 'self', and without an outside observable identity I don't really exist.

Paradoxically, because of this I am even more defined by my social masks when I do carry them. They are what I am to others, even though to me they are little more than how I communicate today.

We can liken the personality of a psychopath to a person who has an unusual knack for languages. The majority of psychopaths (though not all) therefore speak many foreign languages fluently, but we have no native language. And since native language is what defines a person's national heritage, no matter how fluently I speak a foreign language I will never understand it like you understand your mother language, the first language you learned when you first began to speak, which you grew up with, and by which you learned to speak foreign languages.

Now use this allegory on everything that has to do with social human interaction and relation or relationship and you will see how unthinkable it would be for a psychopath to not have social masks.